Last updated 22 May 2011
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It would be virtually impossible to describe all the paths, which abound on Hutton Roof Crags. One, the Limestone Link walk, is a very enjoyable and popular route from Kirkby Lonsdale to Arnside , through Hutton Roof and over Clawthorpe Fell. Walkers can get disorientated on the earlier section of this walk between High Biggins and Hutton Roof, as the path is indistinct in places. It is not the intention here to cover this route, however if you follow the overhead power cables across the fell you should reach the stile. Now. On to Hutton Roof Crags.
Basically there are five access points onto the crags. The first is a signposted footpath in the centre of the village, directly opposite the road to Kirkby Lonsdale and The Biggins (via Kilnerfoot). Vehicle parking is usually available a short distance down the village Main Street, in a small lay-by at Low House Farm.
On entering the fell, through a five-barred gate, you can either follow the Limestone Link, which is the right hand track or keep to the left and walk up Blasterfoot Gap. The Link route provides some excellent scenery, which comes into view on the right as you gradually gain height. You should have an excellent view of Ingleborough, the Barbon and Middleton Fells and the Howgills. The alternative route through Blasterfoot Gap leads to an area known as The Rakes, which is very popular with rock climbers particular at weekends. Should you decide to picnic at the Rakes take the left path at the top of Blasterfoot Gap, otherwise keep straight on and eventually you will be able to look back at The Rakes from a higher position.
Beyond here the path splits and you have a choice of two routes, which pass either side of the Uberash Plain and the Limestone Pavement. If you decide to investigate the Pavement, or the top of the Rakes, you must take care as the limestone is riddled with deep cracks waiting to trap unsuspecting ankles.
The three routes mentioned above all end at the road to Clawthorpe. From this point on the road there is immediate access to New Biggin Fell, Farleton Crags, Clawthorpe and Holmepark Fells. The routes around these Fells are covered elsewhere on the Whittington Village website.
If you have parked your car in the lay-by at Low House Farm there is another route onto the crags through the farmyard by the side of Park Wood, over Hutton Roof Park, Cockshot Hill and straight on to Crag House Farm and the Whittington/Burton road. On reaching the road turn right and after a short distance you will arrive at Plain Quarry, which is another access point onto the crags, and is also a recently constructed picnic area.
Another popular access point is by the side of the Church, which is the start of the road to Clawthorpe, as mentioned previously. There is car parking area opposite the Church, or just around the corner, at the old School. This route onto the fell is over a stone stile by the side of the school, and through a small wood. At the end of the wood the stile has been partially blocked by a fallen tree, which came down in the exceptional winds in the autumn of 2004. You may have to remove your rucksack in order to get under the tree trunk. Keep following the track to the right to join the Limestone Link, or take the left path to access Blasterfoot Gap.
Turning left at the Church and continuing on the road to Clawthorpe you will pass Kelker Well Farm, on your left. At the next T junction past the farm, turn left to the parking area where the Limestone Link walk crosses the road. From here you have a choice of routes. You can either investigate Hutton Roof Crags or explore Newbiggin Fell. Continuing for a couple of hundred yards you will reach a gate on the right and a stile on the left. The stile is another access onto Hutton Roof Crags. A short distance further down the road the fell gate on the left provides access to the path which leads up the steps in the Uberash Breast and continues to the Trig point at the summit of Dalton Fell. Taking this route to the fell top is well worth the effort, but it can be difficult to find, particularly at the lower end. It is better to follow the track from the Trig point in the reverse direction, so as to become familiar with the path over the lower section. The steps up the Uberash Breast resemble the Fairy Steps above Beetham but, thankfully, are somewhat less narrow.
The final access point is at Plain Quarry. Parking is no problem here as there is a large Carpark at the picnic area. Entry to the fell is by one or other of the stiles into the wood on the far side of the quarry. The route to the Trig point is straightforward; just follow the path through the trees. You will pass through a clearing where the trees have been felled over recent years. Keep an eye out for the wooden gate, situated at the intersection of two dry stone walls on the left.
On the early part of this route you will pass through some excellent examples of limestone scenery and attractive woodland. Look back periodically and you may see the River Lune in the distance as it flows in to the Crook of Lune, with Morecambe Bay in the background. Deer have been seen in this woodland on many occasions.
The view from the Trig point is not brilliant but does allow the opportunity to take a breather. From here there are a number of ways forward, all the paths are well shown on the accompanying map. One suggestion might be to take the path which bears North East, rather than the left path which is at right angles to the main path (this goes to the steps in the Uberash Breast mentioned previously). At the end of the grass section of the fell you will descend through a wooded area and a gap in the limestone, which forms a T junction with another path. You need to turn left here but, as you do so, look back at the crack in the rocks through which you have just passed, because if you decide to try this route in the reverse direction this crack is not easy to spot. If you have children with you there are sections of this walk which could, with just a little imagination, become an exciting adventure through haunted woodland and fairy dells. Continue on the path you will soon reach a large grassy break in the woodland (the fairy dell). Take the right hand path which leads to the Rakes.
It is possible to descend from the Rakes to Hutton Roof Village, walk along the road to Low House Farm and follow the return route, to Plain Quarry described above. If you are with small children this route may be too long in that case you could leave one vehicle at the Quarry and a second at Hutton Roof and this will make the walk much shorter.
The walks described are simply a few of the options on Hutton Roof Crags. All the paths are shown on the map but in high summer vegetation covers many of the paths, which can then be difficult to find.
Be aware that limestone rock becomes very slippery when wet, so take great care, especially on the pavements these also have deep cracks just waiting to trap your ankle. Always carry a whistle when walking the fells and if you get into trouble six whistle blasts periodically is a recognised emergency signal, which should attract attention in the event of an emergency.